I am fairly sure that most of us have played the game “Simon says” or its variations at least once in our lives. You know, the game in which you follow instructions given by a certain individual, but only under certain circumstances.
And I am fairly sure that most of us have had the following conversation or its variations with their parents at least once in our lives:
You: “Everyone’s doing it!”
Parent: “Says who?”
You: “Simon says!”
You know, the situation in which your peer does a certain something and you want to follow suit, but your parents are too uncertain about the circumstances to permit it.
Now, in both cases, it begs the question – who is this Simon, and what is it about him that makes us obey him?
Maybe he is a best friend…you must always do the same things because the two of you are so inseparable.
Maybe he is a role model… you always look up to him and want to be just like him because he is so inspirational.
Maybe he is an opinion leader… you always turn to him for advice and direction because he is so influential.
Simon will come in different size and form for each of us, but he is undoubtedly a very important and powerful figure to all of us. And that will most likely make us inclined to take him at his word, without question. But is he always indubitably correct in what he says?
Maybe he does not always have the best interest of you in mind when you do things together.
Maybe he does not always act exemplary on every behaviour you seek to emulate.
Maybe he does not always have the expertise on the topics you asked him for advice.
I am not suggesting you to trust no one, not even the closest to you. Nor am I recommending you to believe nothing you see or hear. But maybe it will not hurt to take a moment to think “who’s Simon?” before you follow his words.
Maybe that extra moment you take to think will make you the Simon to many others. It will be a lot of responsibility, but I am fairly sure that you will be ready for it once you have mastered the art of pausing for a ponder.
Oh, but don’t take too long, or you will surely lose out on the game of “Simon says”!